Imagine the terror of being a teenager, having to flee your war-torn country and moving to a new country with only the clothes on your back.
That was the situation Vladislav Kozar faced back in February when his country, Ukraine, was invaded by Russia. Vladislav and two family members escaped into Poland before finally landing in Metro Detroit.
“I came here with my young brother and mother. We ran away because of fear,” Vladislav said.
Thankfully for Vladislav and four other young Ukrainian refugees, they found a loving new home at a charter school in Southfield called the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School. Authorized by Central Michigan University, the Manoogian school provides a high-quality education that’s focused on the Armenian language and culture. The school population includes a high number of immigrant and refugee students, and they welcomed the five Ukrainian students with open arms.
Their story was highlighted in a wonderful report on WXYZ-TV in Detroit, which can be seen here.
While other schools might have shied away from taking students who had experienced such trauma in their lives, this charter school was more than happy to accept and welcome them. In addition to providing them with a great education, the Manoogian school is also providing them with food, clothes and housing support.
Other schools also shy away from taking students after count day, but charter schools like the Manoogian school have always been the exception. Michigan’s law also allows public schools to turn away students who are deemed “special needs” (which would include refugee students who don’t speak English) if they don’t have the staff and resources to support them.
Despite that, and despite the fact they won’t receive the per-pupil funding that comes with them, charter schools have always stepped up to serve students and families in need.
Charter schools across the state take in refugee students from a number of countries, including Central Academy in Ann Arbor, which provides refugee students with food, clothing, personal hygiene products and more – along with a great education in their new country.
At Manoogian, not only are the students thriving in their new environment, but their new classmates are enriched by it, as well.
“New students, they bring so much fresh air to the school,” Manoogian mentor and teacher Lilit Babloumian said.
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